Forestry England wild venison partnership with East Lancashire hospitals is a BBC Food and Farming Award finalist


Forestry England wild venison partnership with East Lancashire hospitals is a BBC Food and Farming Award finalist

A collaboration between Forestry England and the East Lancashire Hospital Trust (ELHT) has made it to the finals of the BBC Food and Farming Awards for putting locally-sourced wild venison on the menu for hospital patients and staff.  

The partnership is one of three finalists in the Food Innovation award category and the announcement comes after the organisations have worked together to put more than

1,000kg of wild venison from the nearby Forest of Bowland on East Lancashire Hospital Trust’s menus since April 2021. ELHT’s award-winning catering team have created a range of nutritious and appetising venison dishes which have quickly ranked as favourites among hospital staff and patients.  

ELHT is a Bronze Food for Life Served Here award holder and serves meals to patients and staff in five hospitals across the region. Forestry England supplies local wild venison through Highland Game as part of its work managing deer populations in the nation’s forests to ensure thriving, resilient trees and woodlands in the years to come.

Tim Radcliffe, previously ELHT Facilities Manager and now NHS Net Zero Food Programme Manager for NHS England, said:

“Being judged a finalist in these awards is a wonderful endorsement for the approach we’re taking in this partnership. Wild venison ticks all the boxes of the Trust’s goals from sustainability to health and means we can give patients and staff meals which are full of nutrients to aid recovery and promote good health. Our chefs love creating dishes with it, patients enjoy eating it and it’s a cost neutral option in comparison to other meats as it’s sourced from within 20 miles of our hospitals.”

Forestry England Wildlife Manager, Jim Lee, said:

“Forestry England’s venison is 100% wild, lead-free and from well managed forests making it a sustainable meat to eat. Controlling deer – whose population is believed to be at its highest level for 1,000 years – is a vital part of our work and having a trusted outlet for venison and seeing it served just a few miles down the road from its source is a huge bonus. Having our partnership with ELHT recognised in the BBC Food and Farming awards is an important moment for us as we look at new ways to supply wild venison.”

The overall winners of the awards will be announced in November, and in the meantime Forestry England, ELHT and Highland Game are exploring ways to supply venison from the nation’s forests into more NHS hospitals.

Notes to editor

  1. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 363 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and enhance forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. We are continuing the work we have already started to make the nation’s forests resilient to climate change and by 2026 we will:    
  • create at least 6,000 more hectares where we integrate wilding activities in our productive forests.  
  • increase the diversity of visitors to the nation’s forests and have one million hours of high-quality volunteer time given to the nation’s forests  
  • plant at least 2,000 hectares of new, high quality, predominantly broadleaf woodlands  

For more information visit Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.  

  1. Forestry England’s wild venison is:  
  • Better for the planet: Forestry England wild venison is 100% wild. A life spent foraging means our venison don’t have the high carbon footprint and related biodiversity loss associated with intensively farmed animals’ feed.  
  • Lead-free: Forestry England uses lead-free ammunition to cull deer and we were one of the first organisations in the UK to do so.  
  • All of our forests and woodlands are certified to the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) licence code FSC-C123214 and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) licence code PEFC/16-40-1001 standards.

    These are gold standards in the forestry industry which demonstrate to businesses and individuals that our wild meat comes from well-managed forests. 

  1. In December, the Trust’s Venison and Winter Vegetable Pie and Lancashire Venison and Mash Casserole dishes regularly accounted for 33-50% of patient meal choices. 

    Media Contact

    Naomi Fuller, Media Relations Officer. e: